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The Anarchist Cookbook Paperback – September 1, 1989


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Paperback, September 1, 1989
$44.99 $7.69
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Barricade Books (September 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962303208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962303203
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #961,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

I have recently been made aware of several websites that focus on The Anarchist Cookbook. As the author of the original publication some 30 plus years ago, it is appropriate for me to comment.

The Anarchist Cookbook was written during 1968 and part of 1969 soon after I graduated from high school. At the time, I was 19 years old and the Vietnam War and the so-called "counter culture movement" were at their height. I was involved in the anti-war movement and attended numerous peace rallies and demonstrations. The book, in many respects, was a misguided product of my adolescent anger at the prospect of being drafted and sent to Vietnam to fight in a war that I did not believe in.

I conducted the research for the manuscript on my own, primarily at the New York City Public Library. Most of the contents were gleaned from Military and Special Forces Manuals. I was not member of any radical group of either a left or right wing persuasion.

I submitted the manuscript directly to a number of publishers without the help or advice of an agent. Ultimately, it was accepted by Lyle Stuart Inc. and was published verbatim - without editing - in early 1970. Contrary to what is the normal custom, the copyright for the book was taken out in the name of the publisher rather than the author. I did not appreciate the significance of this at the time and would only come to understand it some years later when I requested that the book be taken out of print.

The central idea to the book was that violence is an acceptable means to bring about political change. I no longer agree with this.

Apparently in recent years, The Anarchist Cookbook has seen a number of 'copy cat' type publications, some with remarkably similar titles (Anarchist Cookbook II, III etc). I am not familiar with these publications and cannot comment upon them. I can say that the original Anarchist Cookbook has not been revised or updated in any way by me since it was first published.

During the years that followed its publication, I went to university, married, became a father and a teacher of adolescents. These developments had a profound moral and spiritual effect on me. I found that I no longer agreed with what I had written earlier and I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the ideas that I had put my name to. In 1976 I became a confirmed Anglican Christian and shortly thereafter I wrote to Lyle Stuart Inc. explaining that I no longer held the views that were expressed in the book and requested that The Anarchist Cookbook be taken out of print. The response from the publisher was that the copyright was in his name and therefore such a decision was his to make - not the author's. In the early 1980's, the rights for the book were sold to another publisher. I have had no contact with that publisher (other than to request that the book be taken out of print) and I receive no royalties.

Unfortunately, the book continues to be in print and with the advent of the Internet several websites dealing with it have emerged. I want to state categorically that I am not in agreement with the contents of The Anarchist Cookbook and I would be very pleased (and relieved) to see its publication discontinued. I consider it to be a misguided and potentially dangerous publication which should be taken out of print.

William Powell


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Customer Reviews

The book is overrated, but it's still fun and interesting to read.
Human
Maybe *30* years ago this book would be more relevant, but now much of the information in it is outdated or irrelevant.
Portege
You could blow a hand off or worse very easily, following Powell's directions.
Jerald R Lovell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

337 of 353 people found the following review helpful By Brutus Maximus on November 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am an avid collector of controversial books both for their historical and entertainment value. Don't waste your money on The Anarchist Cookbooks sold here on Amazon. While the picture(s) may show an original one, these are actually re-prints from 2002 and a lot of the original content has been removed or edited. I am very disappointed in the misleading sales tactic.
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127 of 139 people found the following review helpful By BearMaster on August 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
My first exposure to this counter-culture classic was in the most unexpected of settings, my college ROTC classroom. The book written in protest of the Viet-Nam War was being used by a Green Beret veterain of that same war to train us who might be leading troops in, yes, that same war. The irony speaks for itself. I understand that William Powell no longer agrees with what he wrote as a young man, and symphathise with the plight of an artist who has lost control of his work. However, I am glad (and somewhat suprised) that this is still available. Not only is it an important sociological piece of the period, but it is filled with information that could be useful if (god forbid) things ever hit the fan. That same ROTC instructor told me time and again, "Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it," so this book gets a space on my shelf just in case. It's the best book I hope you'll never need.
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128 of 142 people found the following review helpful By Jerald R Lovell on December 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
First published in the turbulent '60's, this book has attained a sort of cult status for that time. It reflects many of the mores and problems of that generation of young people, and is worth it for a read for that, if for no other reason.
So far as bomb-making and all of that, the book is technically good, but the methodology involving use of nitrogen compounds, particularly red, fuming nitric acid and cotton, to make guncotton, is fundamentally ununsound and unsafe. You could blow a hand off or worse very easily, following Powell's directions. I think "The Monkeywrench Gang" and others of its genre are more in tune with today's eco-warrior desires. Also, the book never mentions the superiority of Oxydol and its green beads, as a binding agent for homemade napalm. For shame.
Even with these quibbles, the book is entertaining, and offers a clear glimpse into the mentality of a now-settled generation.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I do believe that the title of the book should be changed to the survivalists handbook. The information contained within the pages of the Anarchist cookbook could not only help save your own life but, the life of others as well. However, There is quite a bit of information that is of a terrorist nature. Nonetheless, this is a book I recommend all to study.
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57 of 74 people found the following review helpful By G. E Farr on May 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
I spent 26 years in the military, mostly Rangers and Special Forces. I attended a sabotage course taught by the "other governmantal agency" and taught a sabotage class myself for members of a classified Special Forces detachment in Europe. I can assure you all that there's a reason why the military refers to "improvised" explosives and incendiaries. Many, if not most, are obscenely unstable even if the best formulas and proceedures are followed. My SF demolitions sergeants thought the "AC" recipes were weirdly, consistently,dangerously, wrong. We never, never did things the "AC" way. Suspiciously, I find no mention of ammonium nitrate fertilizer mixed with diesel fuel. Both ingredients are highly stable, even when properly combined, yet together constitute a highly effective explosive. Both are bought by the ton in thousands of commercial agriculture operations across the world and often stored with minimal security or accountability. That was well known even back then, but there's no mention of it. Just all this unnecessarily dangerous stuff. What's all that about, if not a provocation?

The weapons stuff was weird too. For instance, "AC" kept talking about pairs of weapons that were "great teams together." To me that suggests one of two things. Maybe weapons whose capabilities complemented each other. Say, a sniper rifle and a shotgun for close-in team protection. Or a pair of weapons that shared ammunition and possibly accessories, or even allowed cross-canibalization of parts. These suggested "great teams together" seem to have been paired to negate any such synergistic benefits.

I can't address the drug formulation. I can say that I thought the "theory" stuff was lame and low-brow. "The Wretched of the Earth" this ain't.
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68 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Former Rater on April 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
The "cookbook" as it was known when it was first published, is in the same genre as A.Hoffman's "Steal this Book" -- what the other reviews fail to realize is that most of the material is harmless (any 1st year mining engineer's text tells much more) and the period is the message: Nixon, the King and Robert Kennedy assassinations, the escalation of bombing in Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos - the Pentagon papers coupled with G. Gordon Liddy's insane forays into a psychiatrist's office and the abortive Watergate break-in by 3`rd rate Cuban CIA operatives led to the Weather underground and the feeling that the next US revolution would have to happen if Nixon were to attempt a third term. The book is a reaction to much social unrest and the rejection of popular mandate by the legislative, executive and judicial branches.
Never the less, this is not a book for children or parties given to violence. It is a social commentary with fireworks.
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